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The Journal of Remote Sensing, an Open Access journal published in association with AIR-CAS, promotes the theory, science, and technology of remote sensing, as well as interdisciplinary research within earth and information science.
The Journal of Remote Sensing’s editorial board is led by Yirong Wu (Aerospace Information Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences) and is comprised of experts who have made significant and well recognized contributions to the field.
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Shearlet-Based Structure-Aware Filtering for Hyperspectral and LiDAR Data Classification
The joint interpretation of hyperspectral images (HSIs) and light detection and ranging (LiDAR) data has developed rapidly in recent years due to continuously evolving image processing technology. Nowadays, most feature extraction methods are carried out by convolving the raw data with fixed-size filters, whereas the structural and texture information of objects in multiple scales cannot be sufficiently exploited. In this article, a shearlet-based structure-aware filtering approach, abbreviated as ShearSAF, is proposed for HSI and LiDAR feature extraction and classification. Specifically, superpixel-guided kernel principal component analysis (KPCA) is firstly adopted on raw HSIs to reduce the dimensions. Then, the KPCA-reduced HSI and LiDAR data are converted to the shearlet domain for texture and area feature extraction. In contrast, superpixel segmentation algorithm utilizes the raw HSI data to obtain the initial oversegmentation map. Subsequently, by utilizing a well-designed minimum merging cost that fully considers spectral (HSI and LiDAR data), texture, and area features, a region merging procedure is gradually conducted to produce a final merging map. Further, a scale map that locally indicates the filter size is achieved by calculating the edge distance. Finally, the KPCA-reduced HSI and LiDAR data are convolved with the locally adaptive filters for feature extraction, and a random forest (RF) classifier is thus adopted for classification. The effectiveness of our ShearSAF approach is verified on three real-world datasets, and the results show that the performance of ShearSAF can achieve an accuracy higher than that of comparison methods when exploiting small-size training sample problems. The codes of this work will be available at http://jiasen.tech/papers/ for the sake of reproducibility.
Remote Observations in China’s Ramsar Sites: Wetland Dynamics, Anthropogenic Threats, and Implications for Sustainable Development Goals
The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands is an international framework through which countries identify and protect important wetlands. Yet Ramsar wetlands are under substantial anthropogenic pressure worldwide, and tracking ecological change relies on multitemporal data sets. Here, we evaluated the spatial extent, temporal change, and anthropogenic threat to Ramsar wetlands at a national scale across China to determine whether their management is currently sustainable. We analyzed Landsat data to examine wetland dynamics and anthropogenic threats at the 57 Ramsar wetlands in China between 1980 and 2018. Results reveal that Ramsar sites play important roles in preventing wetland loss compared to the dramatic decline of wetlands in the surrounding areas. However, there are declines in wetland area at 18 Ramsar sites. Among those, six lost a wetland area greater than 100 km2, primarily caused by agricultural activities. Consistent expansion of anthropogenic land covers occurred within 43 (75%) Ramsar sites, and anthropogenic threats from land cover change were particularly notable in eastern China. Aquaculture pond expansion and Spartina alterniflora invasion were prominent threats to coastal Ramsar wetlands. The observations within China’s Ramsar sites, which in management regulations have higher levels of protection than other wetlands, can help track progress towards achieving United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The study findings suggest that further and timely actions are required to control the loss and degradation of wetland ecosystems.
A New Method for Building-Level Population Estimation by Integrating LiDAR, Nighttime Light, and POI Data
Building-level population data are of vital importance in disaster management, homeland security, and public health. Remotely sensed data, especially LiDAR data, which allow measures of three-dimensional morphological information, have been shown to be useful for fine-scale population estimations. However, studies using LiDAR data for population estimation have noted a nonstationary relationship between LiDAR-derived morphological indicators and populations due to the unbalanced characteristic of population distribution. In this article, we proposed a framework to estimate population at the building level by integrating POI data, nighttime light (NTL) data, and LiDAR data. Building objects were first derived using LiDAR data and aerial photographs. Then, three categories of building-level features, including geometric features, nighttime light intensity features, and POI features, were, respectively, extracted from LiDAR data, Luojia1-01 NTL data, and POI data. Finally, a well-trained random forest model was built to estimate the population of each individual building. Huangpu District in Shanghai, China, was chosen to validate the proposed method. A comparison between the estimation result and reference data shows that the proposed method achieved a good accuracy with at the building level and at the community level. The NTL radiance intensity was found to have a positive relationship with population in residential areas, while a negative relationship was found in office and commercial areas. Our study has shown that by integrating both the three-dimensional morphological information derived from LiDAR data and the human activity information extracted from POI and NTL data, the accuracy of building-level population estimation can be improved.
Confidence Measure of the Shallow-Water Bathymetry Map Obtained through the Fusion of Lidar and Multiband Image Data
With the advancement of Lidar technology, bottom depth () of optically shallow waters (OSW) can be measured accurately with an airborne or space-borne Lidar system ( hereafter), but this data product consists of a line format, rather than the desired charts or maps, particularly when the Lidar system is on a satellite. Meanwhile, radiometric measurements from multiband imagers can also be used to infer ( hereafter) of OSW with variable accuracy, though a map of bottom depth can be obtained. It is logical and advantageous to use the two data sources from collocated measurements to generate a more accurate bathymetry map of OSW, where usually image-specific empirical algorithms are developed and applied. Here, after an overview of both the empirical and semianalytical algorithms for the estimation of from multiband imagers, we emphasize that the uncertainty of varies spatially, although it is straightforward to draw regressions between and radiometric data for the generation of . Further, we present a prototype system to map the confidence of pixel-wise, which has been lacking until today in the practices of passive remote sensing of bathymetry. We advocate the generation of a confidence measure in parallel with , which is important and urgent for broad user communities.
Quantitative Evaluation of Leaf Inclination Angle Distribution on Leaf Area Index Retrieval of Coniferous Canopies
Both leaf inclination angle distribution (LAD) and leaf area index (LAI) dominate optical remote sensing signals. The G-function, which is a function of LAD and remote sensing geometry, is often set to 0.5 in the LAI retrieval of coniferous canopies even though this assumption is only valid for spherical LAD. Large uncertainties are thus introduced. However, because numerous tiny leaves grow on conifers, it is nearly impossible to quantitatively evaluate such uncertainties in LAI retrieval. In this study, we proposed a method to characterize the possible change of G-function of coniferous canopies as well as its effect on LAI retrieval. Specifically, a Multi-Directional Imager (MDI) was developed to capture stereo images of the branches, and the needles were reconstructed. The accuracy of the inclination angles calculated from the reconstructed needles was high. Moreover, we analyzed whether a spherical distribution is a valid assumption for coniferous canopies by calculating the possible range of the G-function from the measured LADs of branches of Larch and Spruce and the true G-functions of other species from some existing inventory data and three-dimensional (3D) tree models. Results show that the constant G assumption introduces large errors in LAI retrieval, which could be as large as 53% in the zenithal viewing direction used by spaceborne LiDAR. As a result, accurate LAD estimation is recommended. In the absence of such data, our results show that a viewing zenith angle between 45 and 65 degrees is a good choice, at which the errors of LAI retrieval caused by the spherical assumption will be less than 10% for coniferous canopies.
Finer-Resolution Mapping of Global Land Cover: Recent Developments, Consistency Analysis, and Prospects
Land-cover mapping is one of the foundations of Earth science. As a result of the combined efforts of many scientists, numerous global land-cover (GLC) products with a resolution of 30 m have so far been generated. However, the increasing number of fine-resolution GLC datasets is imposing additional workloads as it is necessary to confirm the quality of these datasets and check their suitability for user applications. To provide guidelines for users, in this study, the recent developments in currently available 30 m GLC products (including three GLC products and thematic products for four different land-cover types, i.e., impervious surface, forest, cropland, and inland water) were first reviewed. Despite the great efforts toward improving mapping accuracy that there have been in recent decades, the current 30 m GLC products still suffer from having relatively low accuracies of between 46.0% and 88.9% for GlobeLand30-2010, 57.71% and 80.36% for FROM_GLC-2015, and 65.59% and 84.33% for GLC_FCS30-2015. The reported accuracies for the global 30 m thematic maps vary from 67.86% to 95.1% for the eight impervious surface products that were reviewed, 56.72% to 97.36% for the seven forest products, 32.73% to 98.3% for the six cropland products, and 15.67% to 99.7% for the six inland water products. The consistency between the current GLC products was then examined. The GLC maps showed a good overall agreement in terms of spatial patterns but a limited agreement for some vegetation classes (such as shrub, tree, and grassland) in specific areas such as transition zones. Finally, the prospects for fine-resolution GLC mapping were also considered. With the rapid development of cloud computing platforms and big data, the Google Earth Engine (GEE) greatly facilitates the production of global fine-resolution land-cover maps by integrating multisource remote sensing datasets with advanced image processing and classification algorithms and powerful computing capability. The synergy between the spectral, spatial, and temporal features derived from multisource satellite datasets and stored in cloud computing platforms will definitely improve the classification accuracy and spatiotemporal resolution of fine-resolution GLC products. In general, up to now, most land-cover maps have not been able to achieve the maximum (per class or overall) error of 5%–15% required by many applications. Therefore, more efforts are needed toward improving the accuracy of these GLC products, especially for classes for which the accuracy has so far been low (such as shrub, wetland, tundra, and grassland) and in terms of the overall quality of the maps.